Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.18
Liaison Joseph Kahn
Submission Date April 20, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Central Michigan University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Morgan Hummon
Sustainability Advancement Graduate Assistant
Facilities Management, Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

Graduate students have the opportunity to work hand in hand with the Department of Energy & Utilities, compiling GHG reports, gaining hands on experience of climate reporting. Students within these positions have the opportunity to apply research on energy generation, purchasing and efficiency to improve usage operations and purchasing on campus.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

Students have opportunities for employment to provide ongoing administrative support for building construction and maintenance as it pertains to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED), certifications. Students gain experiential education in processing and documenting the designing, developing and contracting of sustainable building development and maintenance. Additionally, faculty projects such as porous parking lot and living roof studies, found through Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems, have contributed to the planning, development, as well as implementation of Low Impact Development (LID), on campus.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

The Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems at Central Michigan University received a Michigan Department of Energy grant that paved the way for CMU students to conduct research on two different kinds of residential scale wind turbines. The turbines have been installed at Union Township Hall in Mount Pleasant and are the first wind turbines to be placed in the area.

Prior to the turbines being installed, CMU students gathered 20 years worth of wind speed data from airports throughout Michigan to determine if the wind turbines might be effective in mid Michigan and worth the cost of their installation. Currently, the students are taking readings of air speed and combining that with the power generated by the turbines to determine their efficiency.

Additionally, CMU undergraduate, Aaron Argal, has been working to develop a new material for fuel cells that will function in high temperatures, without the necessity of water or strong acids. This cutting edge technology is the winner of the 2017 President's award and will likely be the newest innovation in energy technology to go mainstream.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

CMU students started the composting program in conjunction with CMU Dining Services. What started as a student project, turned into a large scale operation, catalyzing the diversion of over 600,000 pounds of food waste, each year.

Additionally, CMU Dining offers multiple expos and educational workshops for students in areas ranging from healthy lifestyles, to low impact food choices and compostable products. Students have the opportunity to assist in events management, education & outreach within food and dining sustainability-related topics.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

Central Michigan University utilizes grounds designated for student organic agriculture plots. These plots are run by a registered student organization. Students learn about community shared agriculture, while cultivating fresh organic produce for their personal consumption. Efforts impact students all over campus. Members of this organization conduct outreach and education events to educate the population on the benefits of local community agriculture, healthy lifestyles and seed to table, organic dining.

An excerpt from CMU's website reads:

A living classroom:
Photo of the gazebo in Fabiano Botanical Garden
While watching hands-on lessons about plants during a visit to a Midwest botanical garden in 2005, James Fabiano Sr., '65, '08 and CMU Trustee emeritus, shared his vision of a botanical garden on the campus of CMU with university officials. The idea became a reality in 2008 after Fabiano gave a generous donation to start the funding for the project.

"CMU is a treasure. It was when I was a student and it is now. It continues to grow and improve," Fabiano told Sarah Chuby, '03, during an interview for Centralight magazine. "These gardens will be yet another resource that sets our university apart."

The CMU Department of Biology played a crucial role with the initial conception of the garden and worked with Michigan State University's horticulture faculty and graduate students to create the final design plans. Additional input was provided by those with a passion for plants, their history and their ecosystems.

Take the scenic route
The CMU Fabiano Botanical Garden enhances the beauty of CMU's campus and furthers the university's education and community outreach opportunities. It encompasses a four-acre space located just west of Park Library on the southeast corner of Preston and Washington, and is divided into three major gardens:

Native Plants and Natural Communities Garden
Plants and Society Garden
and the Landscape Demonstration Garden

https://www.cmich.edu/colleges/cst/biology/garden/Pages/default.aspx


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

Director of Facilities Operations, Jay Kahn, has been employing graduate students, since 2010, to track all custodial purchasing across campus. Each student employed, then breaks down total expenditures by building. The student analyzes the expenditures and rates them, by product, into three categories: Green, Neutral and Non-Green items. The student then synthesizes this data into accountability graphs, by building and by custodial supervisor to visualize the following: Total rolling-year expenditure, amount & percentage of Green spending, amount & percentage of Non-Green spending and top five Non-Green items purchased.

These graphs serve as a working supervisory tool. Central Michigan University engages in a Green Cleaning program, where all 90% of total custodial expenditures are targeted to be Green, or environmentally friendly, products. Students analyze Non-Green item and research possible products with more beneficial sustainability ratings. Then, life cycle cost analyses are completed to propose new products as replacements. This effort has advanced Central Michigan University's Green Cleaning program so much, that CMU has been awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's Green cleaning award for multiple years.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

"What Prevents CMU Students from Biking?," is a class project under facilitation of Dr. Mark Francek, Interim Chair of the Geography Department, that focuses on motivations and hindrances for man-powered means of CMU student transportation. This applied project conducted survey research, complied data and made recommendations for improvements to infrastructure, outreach & educations, as well as increased bike sharing programs, based on findings.

Graduate student work also contributed directly to the fusion and expansion of bicycle paths and on CMU's campus and into the surrounding down town Mt. Pleasant community.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

Since 2005, Graduate students complete a monthly Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) analysis. Each month, the student, employed through facilities management, collects data on the exact poundage of waste, shredded paper turned into paper bails and sold, cardboard, other recycling, compost, and landfill contents. The student then synthesizes this data into an easily understandable graph, to be distributed throughout the campus and among key community members.

Students functioning within this position, have the opportunity to propose new initiatives to maximize waste diversion rates, engages with campus and community leaders, attend all meetings and gain experiential insight on waste diversion management within a large scale operation. Students are asked to present information to employees, community partners and the public, apply for nationally recognized awards & grants, as well as create integrated revision reports, suggesting new advancements within the system.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

Faculty member Patti Travioli, is in charge of green house and beautification spaces that focus on/test water efficient foliage. This promotes campus's choice of plant usage to reduce harmful impact on soil biomes, control invasive species and conserve resources. CMU displays a plethora of rain gardens, created and maintained by student groups, in order to reduce the negative impacts of urban runoff into the local water systems.

"Fitting Dual-Flushers into CMU," is a class project under facilitation of Dr. Mark Francek, Interim Chair of the Geography Department, that applied a feasibility study to improving CMU infrastructure through the instillation of dual flush toilets campus wide.

Additionally, graduate students working within the department of Environmental Health & Safety perform monthly campus-wide water contamination risk assessments. These assessments inspect all of the grounds for potential contamination hazards, ranks the important of their risks and notifies responsible parties of required actions to be taken.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

The Center for Applied Research and Rural Studies (CARRS) utilizes the resources and academic expertise of Central Michigan University to assist social agencies, governmental units and non-profit organizations who require guidance in order to address social, economic, environmental and community development concerns. The Center undertakes studies of local problems while also attempting to provide decision-makers with a broader picture of larger forces that affect the development of or the improvement in the quality of life of the citizens of rural Michigan. These efforts are infused into student projects, thesis topics, as well as additional experiential learning opportunities.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:

Entrepreneurial endeavors, presented by students at Central Michigan University, receive funding from CMU and outside sources in order to implement these projects on campus and in local communities:

*Participate in CMU’s New Venture Competition with sustainable ventures
(ongoing)
*Staff continue to mentor any teams that pursue sustainable initiatives or technology in
their projects
*Solar cycle lights won the 2013 top prize in the NVC.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

Students complete semester to year long internships with Isabella County Parks and Recreation, as well as the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy. During these internships students engage in public outreach and education pertaining to sustainable use of county parks and public space. Students also assist in facilitating, or facilitate community volunteer opportunities in habitat restoration, benthic macroinvertibrate studies to gauge local aquatic biodiversity and water quality, as well as clean up projects, among others.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

The Master of Science in Administration department requires students to complete a capstone project that includes the gathering and analysis of primary data. A plethora of students choose to complete their applied research within Central Michigan University's boundaries. Examples of studies include employee satisfaction in relation to work environment, productivity in relation to benefits such as flex time and vacation time, among many other topics. Students have the space to make recommendations on findings that have a quantifiable impact on the well being of employees, students and faculty in the CMU community.

Additionally, Brent Piligian, has been working to synthesize a new chemical probe to assess chemical proteins that are potential tuberculosis treatments. His work was recently the driving force for a $660,000.00 grant proposal to the National Science Foundation that will allow him to continue his research, in an effort to create a viable tuberculosis treatment for individuals around the globe.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:

Dow has used novel materials in development and had the Arts department and students play around with said substances in multimedia classes, to figure out different uses for these materials. The use of this method has given faculty and students the opportunity to gain experiential knowledge, in regards

Additionally, Graduate student Morgan R. Hummon, is utilizing the STARS platform to complete this submission for Central Michigan University, for the first time. This project is creating a baseline for the University to move forward with sustainability advancement efforts, acting as a Master of Science in Administration capstone project and serving as an education & outreach tool for investors, community members and prospective students.

While the Earth and Ecosystem Science PhD. program was in its initial phases, six doctoral students analyzed coastal science studies in the Great Lakes region as a class project. They submitted a group manuscript about the cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary facets of coastal research. However, once submitted, the cohort took their efforts further and submitted their work for publishing in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Their work was accepted and will be published in the January 2017 issue. This project will have a greatly beneficial impact on the Great Lakes scientific community.

For more details, please use the link below:
https://www.cmich.edu/news/article/Pages/ESSclassprojectresearcharticle.aspx

Further, student, Kyler Knapp, has been studying the effects of the CMU honors program on sexual decision making and sexual education. His efforts are catalyzing a movement within the undergraduate honors program, designed to education and motivate students to be respectful, responsible and well informed individuals.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

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